A Scalable Approach to Optimal Block Scheduling

APCOM 2009
Daniel Espinoza, Marcos Goycoolea, Enrique Rubio, Jorge Amaya, Thomas Prevost,
Abstract A critical aspect of long-term open-pit mine planning consists in computing a production schedule based upon a block sequencing strategy. Such a schedule should specify when and if blocks should be extracted in such a way as to maximize NPV, while satisfying wall-slope and production capacity constraints. It is well known that this problem can be modeled with integer programming (IP). However, integer programming is not used in practice because the size of typical block models makes such problems intractable to standard IP solvers. In this article we describe a scalable IP-based methodology for solving very large (millions of blocks) instances of this problem. We show that embedding standard IP technologies in a local-search based algorithm we are able to obtain near-optimal solutions to large problems in reasonable time. This methodology has been tested in several mine wide block models.
Keywords: Open pit mining, mixed integer programming., Optimization, Mine planning
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